lunedì 30 novembre 2009

3 Colours Red "Revolt"

Altro bel dischetto per i nostri power pop punk inglesi. A dire il vero qui c'è meno punk e magari 1 occhio in più per un certo tipo di hard rock melodico (anche molto melodico!), con qualche ballata di notevole impatto, com'è giusto che sia. Perchè anche i rockers hanno un cuore tenero! (1999 Creation)

After the success of their debut, 3 Colours Red returned with the stylistically similar Revolt, an album that managed to gain moderate commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to the minor U.S. hit, "Beautiful Day." Revolt isn't much of a departure from the band's debut album, however, and it also isn't a very compelling listen. 3 Colours Red is essentially a punk band, but unlike other mainstream punk contemporaries like Green Day or the Offspring, Britain's 3 Colours Red don't have much of a sense of humor or an individual personality. The majority of Revolt rattles on at breakneck speed without ever leaving much of an impression. When the band does shine, however, its in their pop songs. The string-laden power ballad, "Beautiful Day," is a centerpiece here, as are catchy rockers like "Back to the City" and "Pirouette." On songs like these (there are a handful of genuine pop songs on the album), 3 Colours Red truly shines, and in that respect, Revolt works as a showcase for what this band could become. (Jason Damas, All Music Guide)

- This Is My Time
- Pirouette
- Beautiful Day
- Song On The Radio
- Calling To The Outside
- Intermission
- Paralyse
- Cancel The Exhibition
- Paranoid People
- Back To The City
- Be Myself
- Age Of Madness


venerdì 27 novembre 2009

3 Colours Red "Pure"

Bello, bello, bello. Un disco che ancora adesso riascolto con piacere. Grinta hard/punk rock. Uscivano per Creation, ma prima avevano inciso anche per la Fierce Panda, e le idee erano proprio chiare. Tosti, sonici ma con l'anima melodica che sapeva emergere. Un gruppo davvero valido. (1997 Creation)

- Pure
- This Is My Hollywood
- Nerve Gas
- Nuclear Holiday
- Copper Girl
- Sixty Mile Smile
- Sunny in England
- Alright Ma
- Mental Blocks
- Fit Boy + Faint Girl
- Halfway up the Downs
- Hateshick
- Love's Cradle
- Aniseed


giovedì 26 novembre 2009

Addict "Stones"

Qui mi commuovo. 1998 esce questo disco e il mio collega d'appartamento universitario, il buon Fabri, se ne innamora. (Hard) rock molto melodico, una buona via di congiunzione tra suoni americani alla Stone Temple Pilots o primi Pearl Jam e i britannici Radiohead, ma quelli degli esordi, ovviamente. E visto che in casa andavano 24 ore su 24 ecco che pure io cado nel Tunnel. Incredibile ma vero, gli Addict vengono in Italia per un tour. E così andiamo a vederli al Binario Zero. La serata fu memorabile e Fabri aveva pure la febbre! Un pomeriggio con loro nel backstage e a vedere le prove e poi un concerto splendido e commovente che ci hanno praticamente dedicato (storia Teenage Angel con loro che aspettavano di sentirci cantare!), anche perchè eravamo si e no in 15 persone. Pazzesco. Ho ancora un sacco di foto di quella serata indimenticabile e postare adesso questo disco mi ha messo addosso tanta nostalgia. Questo era il loro esordio. (1998 V2)

- Dust
- Monster Side
- All Change
- Red Bird
- Heavy
- Teenage Angel
- Caned
- Underneath
- Nobody Knows
- Stones
- Black Hole
- Abused


martedì 24 novembre 2009

The Candyskins "Sunday Morning Fever"

A scuola di pop. Giuro ma in questo disco ci sento dentro di tutto, un compendio magnifico di quello che era il brit pop degli anni 90, dai Rialto, ai Thurman, ai Mantaray, Teenage, tutto già sentito, e allora? Chitarre che veicolano melodie travolgenti, gentilezze acustiche, arpeggi, dolcezza e rumorosità. Un disco di vero e onestissimo Brit Pop! (1997 Ultimate Records)

Returning to indie status after a failed effort for Geffen, the Candyskins recorded the charming Sunday Morning Fever. Like the group's previous two albums, the record is filled with alternately crunching and ringing guitar hooks and pretty melodies, but it is hampered by undistinguished and uneven songwriting, as well as predictable melodies. Nevertheless, the album has a raw, infectious energy that makes it a return to form of sorts for the Candyskins. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- Mrs Hoover
- 24 Hours (u.s.e.d.)
- Car Crash
- Monday Morning
- Get On
- Europe & Japan
- Hang Myself on You
- Disco Hell
- Circles
- Face The Day
- D.r.u.n.k.
- No No No
- Help Me
- In My Hair


The Candyskins "Death Of A Minor T.V. Celebrity"

Il mondo del pop ha sempre bisogno di eroi sfortunati, di onestissimi lavoratori che continuano a sfornare ottimi album, grandi melodie, pregevolissimi lavori, ma chissà perchè il successo, i titoloni dei giornali, le groupies più calde, vannosempre ad altri gruppi. Beh, a me i Candyskins hanno sempre dato questa impressione. Bravissimi nel loro power pop, chitarre e melodie, capaci di farti saltare man anche di farti ocmmuove con grandi ballate, eppure mai troppo lodati, considerati e ricordati come avrebbero meritato. Beh, sono qui per questo! (1998 Velvet Records)

On their fourth album, and first American release in five years, the Candyskins deliver driven pop melodies that are fun to sing along with, but also portray a consistent theme throughout the eleven original tracks. Easily labeled as "Brit Pop," this Oxford, England quintet plays sweet, energetic power-pop with a British feel.
Leading off with "Feed It," their first single, which is gaining good-sized airplay across the nation, this upbeat, infectious number showers you with sing-along lines and inspirational lyrics. However, its inspiration is less than happy. Written after the Heaven's Gate incident, the pop rock feel of the song hardly even hints at the tragic event. It just goes to show the songwriting sophistication and ideas that help make this (and every) song one that is open to the listeners' translation, regardless of what event 'actually' inspired the lyrics.
Quieting down a bit, and leaving the amped-up hooks at the door, the title track shows the band in a new light. Led by an acoustic guitar and piano, the rhythm section softly walks along with the rest of the band. The vocals are the main draw, releasing serious ideas with a first hand perspective. Even as Nick Cope (lead vocals) is seemingly singing about a man who tied helium balloons to his lawn chair for attention, the lyrics hint at other possibilities and emotions. Several angles possible, none being the 'right' way to look at the song, they wrap you up as you come up with your own interpretations.
Even though they can get a lot of feeling into a toned down, soft number, the fun lies in their upbeat, jumpy pop melodies. And, that's exactly what "Somewhere Under London" will bring to you. More hooks, more guitar driven steam, and a bouncy rhythm section help propel this pop-charged ditty to the front of your mind. Mixing in soft spots, they draw you in and then step on the distortion pedals -- cranking out some heavy hooks.
Always mixing a serious message under the happy hooks, "Teenage Suicide" deals with controversy, heavy-handed emotions, and cries for help right from the get go. Arguably the emotional high of the album, and near the top when it comes to infectious-ness, the Candyskins have no problem wrapping you up as the story unfolds. "And everybody wants to hide, from a teenage suicide. And everybody wants a ride, from the teenage suicide," the lyrics that you'll find yourself singing along with during the chorus, keep you clinging to hope that the story will turn out positive. Mixed with unforgettable hooks, a potent mix of emotions and melodies drill this song right to your heart.
Ending with "Going Nowhere," the band finishes off with spacey, Brit-Pop number that, although not nearly as infectious as some of the high points on this album, helps finish off any lose ends and brings the album to a comfortable stop.
Previously not a fan of Brit-Pop, The Candyskins have broken any stereotypes I previously had on the genre. Delicious melodies, sharp images, and realism make their passionate pop songs come to life. Gone for five years, the wait seems to have been worth it. I'll give this disc an A-. (Alex Steininger -

Do you like Oasis?
Well . . . do you?
That’s all you have to ask yourself. The success of Oasis has produced many sound-alikes, The Candyskins being one of the best of them.
But don’t think this means The Candyskins are a completely unoriginal band with no sense of identity. There are points within their new album, Death of a Minor TV Celebrity, that they achieve a sense of themselves. Take, for example, the name of the album. It’s creative. . . that would be a start, right?
Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. This probably stems from my unbridled hate for Oasis (please don’t throw anything at me or send me hate mail, all you die-hard groupies) and I can’t stand unoriginality (can anyone tell the difference between the song "All For You" by Sister Hazel and any Blues Traveler song? Seriously). So many Brit-pop bands fall into this rut. But there is light at the end of this tunnel. Remember Radiohead’s Pablo Honey? They broke out of their "Pixie sound-alike" rut and have achieved sounds beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. See? If fellow Oxfordite Thom Yorke and the crew can. . .
One great aspect of this album is it’s emotion. Unlike other recordings, these lyrics and wafty vocals drip with emotion and sincerity (a good example of this is their song "Songbird"). The song "Feed It" sounds especially like Oasis on the vocals, but the lyrics ("If you want it / you’ve got / you feed it / you love it / you say that / you need it, etc.) are catchy and hip-- everybody loves a good song to sing along to. (WARNING: Don’t get confused! The very first note of the song sounds like "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet.)
"Death of a Minor TV Celebrity" is a very promising ballad, and probably one of the most promising tracks on the album. The vocals are appropriately reminiscent of Oasis (not a blatant copy), and the back-up piano work is beautiful and flowing.
So, are you?
An Oasis fan, I mean?
My advice? Watch for the Candyskins in the future. They plan to tour the US soon, and the live shows are supposed to be their forte. Their present work looks very promising, so any future albums will certainly be welcome.
Hey, who knows how long Oasis is going to last? (Tiffany Funk -

- Feed It
- It's a Sign
- Death of a Minor TV Celebrity
- Loser Friendly
- Swimming Pool
- Somewhere Under London
- A Song
- Songbird
- Teenage Suicide
- Friday Night, Saturday Morning
- Going Nowhere


domenica 22 novembre 2009

Menswear "Nuisance"

Signori e signore....IL BRIT POP!!!....nonostante quello che dice Scaruffi!!! (1995 Laurel)

I Menswear furono l'ennesimo gruppo britannico degli anni '90 a balzare in prima pagina prima ancora di aver firmato un contratto discografico. Questa volta la novita` stava nel rispolverare (per la millesima volta) la civilta` mod, e nelle pose (ancor meno originali) del leader Johnny Dean.
I singoli I'll Manage Somehow (Laurel), un'indegna scopiazzatura di Backwater dei Meat Puppets, e Daydreamer, una versione per scolaretti dell'idea di Line Up degli Elastica che era a sua volta rubata ai Wire, si dimenticano dopo cinque minuti, tanto sono familiari i riff e i ritornelli su cui poggiano, e l'album Nuisance (Laurel, 1995) fa acqua da tutte le parti, sia che imiti i Monkees (Little Miss Pinpoint Eyes) sia che imiti gli Small Faces (Around You Again). Tracce dei Cream in 125 West 3rd Street, di David Bowie in Stardust e del soul "bianco" in Hollywood Girl non bastano a trasformare un pezzo inerte di materia in arte. (Piero Scaruffi -

Perhaps Menswear was always destined to be a footnote in pop history, a product of the heady good times of London in 1994 and 1995. Reportedly signed after only three shows, the band was never given the chance to fully develop before they recorded their debut album, Nuisance. At the time of their first single, they appropriated the sound of Blur and the style of Pulp; by the time Nuisance was released, they also incorporated the sound of Elastica and Oasis, making the band a virtual Cliff Notes of Brit-pop. Naturally, Menswear doesn't quite have the skills or panache of any of their idols, but that doesn't mean they are lacking in charm. Like Oasis and Blur, Menswear appropriates sections of pop history, claiming them as their own. However, they aren't half the songwriters that Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn are, which means many of their ideas are never developed. Nevertheless, when they assimilate them fully -- like the intoxicating rush of "Around You Again" or the sweeping ballad "Being Brave," which lifts the intro to Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" -- the band is an undeniable guilty pleasure. When pressed, the 'swear can come up with irresistably infectious pop gems, from the frazzled Monkees pop of "Sleeping In" to the flat-out great single "Daydreamer," which sounds more like Wire than Elastica, only funnier, even if it may be unintentional. Even funnier are Johnny Dean's lyrics, from the groupie saga of "125 West 3rd Street" to "Stardust," a silly attack on Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie. In all, Nuisance is the perfect product from a band that is better known for being seen than being heard. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- 125 West 3rd Street
- I'll Manage Somehow
- Sleeping In
- Little Miss Pinpoint Eyes
- Daydreamer
- Hollywood Girl
- Being Brave
- Around You Again
- One
- Stardust
- Piece Of Me
- Stardust (reprise)


sabato 21 novembre 2009

Sing Sing "The Joy of Sing-Sing"

Dopo la fine dei Lush, Emma ritorna con un nuovo progetto, sempre a base di melodie eteree, ma più virato verso incanti elettro pop. Un disco gentile, semplice, sognante con magari i St. Etienne e la loro eleganza come punto di riferimento. Se Tegan mena le danze in modo carico, il mondo di Sing Sing saprà donare anche colori più tenui e rilassati e la malinconia di Everything ne è uno splendido esempio. Niente per cui gridare al miracolo, ma un piacevole sottofondo prima di addormentarsi e fare degli splendidi sogni! (2001 Poptones)

The Poptones house-style looms large over Joy of Sing Sing, the first release from the retro pop world of Sing Sing featuring the talents of Emma Anderson (ex-Lush) and Lisa O'Neill, (sometime vocalist with the Mad Professor). The first few tracks are radio friendly, synth-infused and subtly melancholic. "Tegan" has that driving 80s production so successfully used by Garbage, with fuzzed-up bassline and slightly psychedelic harmonies. There's a xylophone on the straight-ahead pop of "Feels Like Summer" which takes the song's 60s spy feel further behind enemy lines. Then there's "Emigré" a duet for him and her with stand-up bass, drum flourishes and an electronic harp. The mid-paced rock of "I Can See You" finishes things off well, it's pretty epic and has the bemusing hookline "Went to Didcot / Back for more". Giving the game away, there's a hidden track at the end that sounds like another band altogether--again a duet, it's a hand in hand folksy stroll down a leafy lane. The shape of Joy Of Sing Sing is never tugged too far away from the St Etienne/Cardigans/Garbage triangle, and fans of well-packaged alt-pop should certainly find something to love about Sing Sing. (Mike Smoughton -

The presence of ex-Lush guitarist-vocalist Emma Anderson on Sing-Sing's debut guarantees a certain polish. The ghosts of the Cocteau Twins can also be heard around the edges, mixed with slightly retro '80s electro. Unfortunately, the songwriting here shares another trait of Anderson's former project: inconsistency. For every well-executed melody or hooky chorus, there's a clunky transition or an idea left to dangle and die. "You Don't Know" rips right along, offering a melting guitar line and a catchy (if rather unoriginal) hook, while "I'll Be" wanders over familiar, forgettable terrain before redeeming itself with an oddly touching wisp of birdsong. The limited vocal range and long, swooping phrases of singer Lisa O'Neill, while creating an interesting cabaret quality, ensures a rigid texture and tempo from track to track that derails variety and momentum. Despite it all, the record sounds great; producer and instrumentalist Mark Van Hoen keeps tracks like "Panda Eyes" humming with great swaths of windy synths. (Matthew Cooke -

There's something about a lot of music with high female vocals, particularly this brand of sugary electro-pop, that doesn't sit well with me -- call it internalized misogyny, call it projection, but give me scrawny off-key boys or tougher-sounding belting chicks any day. All the same, as I listen to The Joy of Sing-Sing, the few moments where I find myself instinctively wincing at Lisa O'Neill's sweetly girlish vocals are much outweighed by the sheer weight and backbone she and Emma Anderson somehow give to what seems at first to be yet another British electronic-flavored stylish pop record. These are no wispy singer-songwriters here; they have style, grace and charm to spare, but in the sort of way that brooks no argument from any self-important rockers -- or anyone else, for that matter.
Don't get me wrong, this is a very pretty record, and often very much so. There are hooks popping out everywhere here, accented, not cloaked, by the songs' sheen of electronic beats and sighs and analog keyboards. Underneath all those shiny, shiny flourishes and moddish overtones, though, is some seriously smart, witty music, for the most part. "Feels Like Summer" is a faintly Motown-flavored, downright gleeful "I told you so" of a kiss-off song, and "Panda Eyes" is probably the most danceable song ever written about having a hangover. With its brief flashes of horns and strings (however synthesized), "Far Away From Love" sounds like a particularly odd but still damned catchy collaboration between Beulah and St. Etienne. It's a record, that, for its occasionally trip-hop leanings, is really about the songs, rather than about sound textures and breathy singers.
Together with their many collaborators, O'Neill and Anderson, by sheer force of personality, have outstripped their musical pasts -- the former chiefly working as vocalist on others' electronic-based projects, and the latter in all-about-the-ethereal Lush -- and created a glamorous, evocative sound with a solid pop base, rather than mood pieces with pop trappings. It ends up being even moodier for all the genuine heart and wit behind it. Now there's style for you! (Mandy Shekleton -

Two years following the tragic demise of Lush, guitarist Emma Anderson formed the dream pop outfit Sing-Sing with vocalist Lisa O'Neill (Locust, Kid Loco) in 1998. The pairing couldn't have been more magical, for Sing-Sing presented a glowing dynamic. By fall 2002, American indie fans finally got their hands on the duo's debut album, The Joy of Sing-Sing; it had been previously released in Europe a year earlier, but the stateside release was worth the wait. The Joy of Sing-Sing showcases Anderson's signature vocal shimmer. O'Neill is a matchless partner for Anderson, as their melodies vocally intertwine to create sheer bliss. Sing-Sing engages in classic dreamlike aesthetics, but with a combination of '60s pop and electronic bits. There's a healthy ambience to this album, particularly on the airy dance blend of "Tegan." "Feels Like Summer" and "Me and My Friend" are pure, luxurious pop, while also warm for a daydream trip. Vibrant synth beats carry "Panda Eyes," while "You Don't Know" spirals around heavy keyboards like early-'80s new wave. Sing-Sing discovers its own musical universe on The Joy of Sing-Sing. Anderson has slightly stuck to the pop formula that made her an indie darling in the 1990s; however, she's designed it to be her very own. She and O'Neill are a sharp pair. The Joy of Sing-Sing is a divine first album -- fans will undoubtedly be delighted. (

- Everything
- Tegan
- I'll Be
- Me and My Friend
- Far Away from Love
- Panda Eyes
- Command
- Feels Like Summer
- Émigré
- You Don't Know
- Underage
- I Can See You


Interzone "Stay a While"

La domanda è....perchè Claudio ha a casa il singolo degli Interzone? Perchè è un dio rispondo io. Ecco la filosofia del...bisogna averlo! E io e Claudio ne siamo ottimi esponenti. Gli Interzone avevano per noi un particolare interesse perchè in loro militava Owen Morris, decisamente più famoso come produttore che come musicista, ma tant'è....avanti con il suond simpaticamente fresco e furbetto degli Interzone. E noi a farci prendere all'amo!! (2000 Double Dragon)

- Stay A While
- Over The Moon
- Complete Strangers
- Where You Belong


mercoledì 18 novembre 2009

Swervedrive "99th Dream"

C'è chi dice di sentire tanto Oasis in questo ultimo lavoro degli Swervedriver, mah. Io più di tanto non ci sento questa influenza. Di sicuro ruvidità e psichedelia visionaria al confine con lo shoegazer sembrano aver perso la carica dei dischi precedenti, ma si è guadagnato in attenzione alle melodie, che a mio avviso non vuole dire piegarsi alla commercialità. (1998 Zero Hour)

Swervedriver are sounding a little zoned out, like after a few years of making their distinctive psychedelic soundscapes, the band has finally succeeded in hypnotizing themselves. The slow, druggy pace and fascination with their own weird noises works against them on this disc to the point that the songs themselves go missing in a fog of production gimmicks and barely-pre-passing-out vocal delivery.
Occasionally, something does bubble up from under the surface and get your attention, but then the song goes on forever and ever until it gets annoying. I was really looking forward to this release, but found my fingers wandering in the direction of the SKIP button with alarming frequency.
The album starts out with some promise: "99th Dream" is a pleasant enough, though hard to remember, tune; and the dip into the Beatles collection on "These Times" is okay, but not great. It's with the slightly Radiohead-like "Electric 77" that everything takes a big nosedive, as far as momentum is concerned, and it never recovers.
In the end, 99th Dream wanders around like it just woke up and there's no coffee. (Michael O'Donahue -

Con un anno di ritardo esce 99th Dream (Zero Hour, 1998), album che si ispira esplicitamente ai Love e che continua la parabola verso un ordinato sound da classifica. Le cantilene di 99th Dream, These Times e Wrong Treats hanno piu` che altro perfezionato il loro "jingle jangle" psichedelico, in maniera tale che non urti i timpani dei fans degli Stone Roses. Le melodia si sviluppa innocua su un maelstrom sempre piu` tenue di riff e ritmi. E lo strumentale Stellar Caprice lambisce la musica leggera orchestrale.
I tour de force del disco sono semmai Electric 77, che rifiuta di esplodere e rimane in un limbo trascendente, e il lungo pezzo di chiusura, Behind The Scenes Of The Sounds & The Times, una sorta di versione ruspante e chiassosa della I Am The Resurrection degli Stone Roses. Qualche ballad triviale di troppo retrocede pero` il disco ai ranghi delle opere di transizione, delle opere che uno fa soltanto come referenze, per prepararsi il terreno. (Piero Scaruffi -

- 99th Dream
- Up from the Sea
- She Weaves a Tender Trap
- These Times
- Electric 77
- Stellar Caprice
- Wrong Treats
- You've Sealed My Fate
- In My Time
- Expressway
- Behind the Scenes of the Sounds & the Times


The Sundays "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic"

La magia, la malinconia, la luce soffusa dei tutto in un magnifico esordio. Il loro guitar pop si muove su coordinate semplici, eppure così incantevoli, lontano da volumi alti, ritmiche incalzanti ed eccessi, e vicino invece a stati di pace, riflessione, sogno. Emozioni rare. (1990 Geffen)

Nearly 20 years ago, with Madchester at the height of its popular appeal, a band about as far removed from The Happy Mondays as it was possible to be briefly rivalled Bez, Shaun and friends as the new darlings of the independent music scene. With the release of their debut album Reading, Writing And Arithmetic, The Sundays received a flurry of euphoric reviews comparing the London quartet to The Smiths, and it's fair to say that David Gavurin builds his songs around the same peculiarly British melancholy yet achingly pretty guitar jangle immortalised by Johnny Marr.
But the most distinctive ingredient about the Sundays was always Harriet Wheeler's voice, which positions the group as a kind of missing link between the ethereal soundscapes of the Cocteau Twins and the more chart-friendly indie-pop of The Cranberries. Like Liz Fraser and Dolores O'Riordan, Wheeler's vocals transfer effortlessly from a fragile whisper to a passionate shriek, taking often simple melodies and leading them on a merry dance across her whole impressive range.
The two best known tracks on Reading, Writing And Arithmetic are the singles Can't Be Sure and Here's Where The Story Ends, and two decades later these remain the best examples of The Sundays' appeal with their instant, breezy hooks and delicate, shuffling rhythms. The rest of the album is a little less immediate, but gradually tracks like Hideous Towns and I Kicked A Boy work their way insidiously inside your head, with Wheeler's angelic, almost hypnotic voice leading the charm offensive.
The Sundays never again recaptured the heights of their debut record, fading slowly into obscurity as the world they inhabited gave way to the brash, confident swagger of Britpop. While Reading, Writing And Arithmetic is perhaps a little too fey and lightweight to warrant true classic status, it is nevertheless a sweet, beguiling piece of work that is utterly of its time, yet still fresh and enjoyable today. (Chris White -

Imitated many times but rarely equalled, The Sundays' debut album is rightly hailed as one of the key indie guitar albums. Released in 1990, just as Manchester seemed to be the dominant force, The Sundays made music that was the antithesis of the moodiness of the time; the innocence and joy of youth versus the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays 'E'-loving slackers if you will. Even the beginnings of the group were fairytale-like. Guitarist David Gavurin and singer Hariet Wheeler met at University, became lovers and then the music came after. It was hardly an afterthought, however, with the flowery 'Can't Be Sure' topping John Peel's end of year poll in 1989. Tin Tin Out's otherwise pointless late 90's dance reworking of 'Here's Where The Story Ends' served the purpose of reminding listeners just what a great song it was. Yet behind the apparent prettiness lurk downbeat tracks a-plenty, 'I Won' and 'A Certain Someone' even revealed a a modicum of anger. 'Skin & Bones' and 'You're Not The Only One I Know' were and still remain excellent album tracks; far from making up the numbers their subtlety and melodic glories are perennialy charming. (

- Skin & Bones
- Here's Where The Story Ends
- Can't Be Sure
- I Won
- Hideous Towns
- You're Not The Only One I Know
- A Certain Someone
- I Kicked A Boy
- My Finest Hour
- Joy


Silver Sun "Silver Sun"

Un compendio di pop. Mi ricordo quando il buon Claudio mi parlò di loro. E avevano pure Manda Rin dei Bis tra i loro fans! Che dire di questo disco? Melodie irresistibili, praticamente i Beach Boys che si svegliano alla mattina e decidono di gonfiarsi di power pop! Uno dei miei dischi preferiti di sempre in ambito pop! (1997 Polydor)

If their debut album is anything to go by, Silver Sun are four casually misogynistic serial masturbators with a profound debt to the Beach Boys and a fine line in sun-flecked power-pop. That's to do a disservice to them, however, because ignore the frequent references to "dumb bitches" and frontman James Broad's admission on "Bad Haircut" that he's "sitting on the toilet waiting to come", and Silver Sun is a whole lot of fun. In fact, geek rock seldom comes with the flagrant hyperbole of "Lava", which rather thankfully shelters its musings on the smell of young girl's bedrooms (true, unfortunately) under two-and-a-half minutes of excitable scissor-kicking and about 12 choruses piled gloriously on top of one other. Evidence that if Silver Sun could learn to, y'know, talk to 50 per cent of the world's population, then perhaps the geeks could inherit the earth. (Louis Pattison -

- Test
- Golden Skin
- Dumb
- Julia
- Far Out
- Last Day
- Service
- Yellow Light
- Lava
- 2 Digits
- This 'n' That
- Wonderful
- Bad Haircut
- Nobody
- Animals Feet


martedì 17 novembre 2009

Shed Seven "B-Sides"

Premettiamo che gli Shed Seven sono 1 gruppo tutt'ora in attività e quindi non vi saranno certo molti post dedicati a loro,ma,questa graditissima raccolta di B-sides la si poteva trovare sulla versione limited di Maximum High, secondo lavoro del gruppo e quindi la posto volentieri. Ovviamente per i completisti che avevano già tutti i singoli poteva risultare superflua, ma per gli altri era davvero 1 ghiotta occasione per avere altri 16 pezzi con versioni nuove di brani editi o per sentire pezzi criminalmente rilegati a b-side che potevano tranquillamente stare su un disco vero e proprio. (1996 Polydor)

- Long Time Dead (New Version)
- Around Your House
- Swing My Wave
- Out By My Side (Piano Version)
- Immobilise
- Killing Time
- This Is My House
- Sensitive
- Barracuda
- Mobile
- Stepping On Hearts
- Never Again
- Song Seven
- Making Waves
- Sleep Easy
- Only Deaming


The Delgados "Domestiques"

Decisamente diversi i Delgados di questo esordio rispetto a quelli che produrranno dischi magnificamente eleganti nelcorso della loro carriera, qui siamo invece su un pop lo fi che si muove su coordinate Pavement/Pixies, con un gusto scozzese che non guasta mai. Impegnato anche sul fronte della propria casa discografica (che pubblica anche questo lavoro, ovviamente), che vantava tra le proprie fila anche paladini come i Bis, il gruppo divenne uno dei favoriti del grande John Peel, che li volle spesso nel proprio programma! Giustamente direi! (1996 Chemikal Underground)

"Tempered; Not Tamed" off The Delgados' 1997 debut album, Domestiques, begins with a French-language shoutout to Chemikal Underground Records. The band wasn't just promoting the label that their core songwriting duo, Emma Pollock and Alun Woodward, started in the early 90s; they were also giving props to the then-nascent Scottish scene, which included Chemikal signees Arab Strap, Bis, and Mogwai, and which peaked during the latter part of that decade. Of the acts on Chemikal Underground, The Delgados weren't always the most popular or critically acclaimed-- in fact, it wasn't until the turn of the current decade that they rose from the ranks with their Dave Fridmann-produced albums, The Great Eastern and Hate-- but The Delgados were always able to compete with any of the bands they signed and promoted.
It seems odd to compare these early songs to the band's more recent work, as they could belong to another band entirely. Despite the presence of Pollack and Woodward's familiar vocals, the approach and the sound are completely different: Instead of the well-polished cacophony of their last two albums, Domestiques has a much rawer, looser sound, almost punk in the songs' straightforward structures and simple energy. But the album contains the seeds of its successors. Woodward's acoustic meditations on "One More Question" and "Smaller Mammals" prefigure Peloton, while tracks like "Strathcona Slung" and "Akumulator" showcase the same kind of singalong, hoist-your-pint choruses the band has since perfected.
Like fellow Brits like Mojave 3, The Delgados alternate male and female vocals, occasionally playing them off each other. But it wasn't always this way: Domestiques is undeniably Pollock's album. The songs that prominently feature her vocals, such as "Big Business in Europe" and "Sucrose", are by far the record's best and most dynamic. Woodward, on the other hand, shows an inclination for meandering structures and half-developed ideas, and the concentration of his songs toward the end of Domestiques makes for a disappointing anticlimax.
Domestiques makes a fine point of origin for the three albums and handful of singles that followed it, but it's more than just a curio for fans: At its best, the album exposes the roots of a scene that produced one generation of bands and influenced another, and showcases a young band trying to claim its own territory in both music and business. Still, its flaws reveal they had a long road ahead of them before they'd finally arrive. (Stephen M. Deusner -

I Delgados sono scozzesi e appartengono alla stessa generazione di popstar folk di Glasgow quali Arab Strap e Belle And Sebastian. Piuttosto che limitarsi a seguire la banale scuola pop britannica, che si estende senza grossi cambiamenti dai Beatles agli Smiths, i Delgados ebbero il coraggio di tentare la via della sperimentazione. Il primo singolo Monica Webster (febbraio 1995), l'EP Lazarwalker (Radar, 1995) e il secondo singolo Cincentre (1996) ricordano una versione lo-fi dell'obliquo hard-rock dei Pixies. La somiglianza con i Pixies continua nelle migliori tracce di Domestiques (Chemikal Underground, 1997): Under Canvas Under Wraps e Big Business In Europe, mentre le piu' orecchiabili Sucrose, Tempered Not Tamed e Akumulator rivelano un potenziale commerciale.
Pavement e Velocity Girl sono fonte di ispirazione per il lo-fi dissonante che prende il controllo dei brani maggiormente creativi: Leaning On A Cane, un duetto tra i due cantanti sospinto da linee di violoncello, e One More Questions, immerso in tintinnii di xilofono. (Piero Scaruffi -

- Under Canvas Under Wraps
- Leaning on a Cane
- Strathcona Slung
- Tempered, Not Tamed
- One More Question
- Big Business in Europe
- Falling and Landing
- Akumulator
- Sucrose
- Pinky
- Friendly Conventions
- Smaller Mammals
- 4th Channel
- D'Estus Morte


Catherine Wheel "Chrome"

Questo è uno splendido disco di rock. Non uso il termine shoegazer, perchè rispetto all'esordio, complice anche il produttore a mio avviso, le cose cambiano, spostandosi più verso l'hard rock, ma rimane intatta la capacità di scivere comunque pezzi potenti, maturi, intensi e vibranti. Chitarre rumorose che non inglobano la melodia, ma si lasciano guidare dalla stessa, mentre la voce di Rob si dimostra versatile come non mai. Un disco che a mio avviso è proprio poesia! (1993 Mercury)

Chrome is the kind of album that can end a band’s career. It’s so good, so very good, and yet it never attracted the attention or the sales that one would expect for an album this accomplished. The band had to Chromeknow how good it was and must have released it with great expectations. Having those expectations dashed by a lukewarm reception can break a band’s spirit and their heart. Catherine Wheel kept going releasing three more albums after Chrome but they never received the recognition they should have based on Chrome alone. It’s a brilliant record.
Catherine Wheel are Rob Dickenson (guitars, vocals), Brian Futter (guitar), Dave Hawes (bass) and Neil Sims (drums). Both Chrome and their debut album Ferment are squarely in the shoegazer genre and this may have been part of the problem. “Shoegazer” was something of a pejoritive term coined by the UK music press for a group of bands that began to surface in the late 1980s that featured massive walls of guitar effects and feedback with vocals often unintelligible and buried deep in the mix. Part of the ethos surrounding the music was a pronounced lack of interest in or respect for the established music press and the critics of publications like NME and Melody Maker reacted by deriding the music. American audiences who weren’t reading the UK music press listened with more open ears and Catherine Wheel initially found more success in the US than the UK. The UK press then castigated the band for abandoning their home audience for America. There’s just no satisfying these guys.
Chrome features towering walls of guitar effects that make Phil Spectre’s trumpeted “wall of sound” sound like a puny thing in comparison. Dickenson and Futter sound like an army of roaring, chiming, ringing guitar players. One of the factors that set Catherine Wheel apart from many of their shoegaze contemporaries was that their music never abandoned harmony, melody and hooks in favor of raw guitar squall. Their guitars are immense but they always work in service to the song. They also have a way with discord that I don’t know if I’ve ever heard before. The band will occasionally add a discordant guitar line to the mix but they have an uncanny way of embeding the line in a wall of guitar sound that modulates in tone in such a way that it provides a bridge between the discordant line and the melody line. It’s as if they are providing a guided tour of how discord can arise from and be related to harmony. It’s a very neat trick and it can serve the perpose of easing listeners who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with discordant music into an appreciation of how dissonance can be made to work musically.
Chrome was originally released in 1993 and if the 20 year nostalgia cycle holds, shoegaze will be “rediscovered” sometime in the next 5 years. Actually, shoegaze may have jumped the gun as we are already seeing bands labeled as nu-gaze that feature big walls of guitar sound. Whenever it happens, perhaps Catherine Wheel will finally get the recognition they deserve for Chrome. It’s one of that small handful of albums that I’ll return to perodically through the years. If you like good songwriting and powerful guitars, check it out. (

The original title, Crank, would have been apt. Producer Gil Norton (Pixies, Echo & the Bunnymen) was brought in to toughen this band's sound and set them apart from the wave of U.K. upstarts who were pounding U.S. shores. That he did. But it's not necessarily progress; Talk Talk's master experimentalist, Tim Friese-Greene, gave Catherine Wheel's brilliant debut, Ferment, a dripping beauty, opulent textures illuminating barely hidden firepower. On even the most angry, aggressive tracks, such as "Texture" and "Shallow," this shimmering, shuddering mist was still ever-present. Many of those glistening touches have indeed been subtracted by Norton, and they're missed. That Chrome is still a terrific LP proves Catherine Wheel capable of eclipsing the overload. Like another sharp LP that "cranked" for an hour without much sonic letup, Chrome reminds one of Sugar's Copper Blue. Not because Catherine Wheel covered Hüsker Dü on the 30 Century Man EP; it's because that was the last LP that combined this kind of songwriting prowess, raging playing, dynamics, pop tunes gone kablooey, and huge, bonfire sound. And unlike that toasty Sugar LP, this twin-guitar quartet knows how to bring it down: both the spindly single "Crank" and the resplendent "The Nude" seem almost tearful, they're so pretty through the thickness, and the knockout "Strange Fruit" is as fulsome as it is fierce. Rob Dickinson sings as if to choke on his words, yet never loses a gritty determination backed soundly by his and Brian Futter's guitars. Add in heavier versions of previous B-sides-that-deserved-better "Half Life" and "Ursa Major Space Station," and you've got a double play from a band too resolute to fall victim to sophomore slump wimp out, too talented to write half-baked tunes in two minutes, and too strong to glaze out in a shoegaze haze some pigeonholed them in after Ferment. (Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover - All Music Guide)

- Kill Rhythm
- I Confess
- Crank
- Broken Head
- Pain
- Strange Fruit
- Chrome
- The Nude
- Ursa Major Space Station
- Fripp
- Half Life
- Show me Mary


domenica 15 novembre 2009

Catatonia "Way Beyond Blue"

In alto i cuori e in alto le mani per la splendida Cerys. Meravigliosa. E se non ci credete guardate i video qui sopra. Adoro le bionde e cado ai piedi della signorina Matthews! La sua voce poi mi fa impazzire: bambina impertinente, così dolce e ingenua, ma così pronta anche a graffiare. Il loro ottimo guitar pop è ricco di melodia e di momenti pop di altissimo valore. Impossibile non cedere di fronte a tanta sapienza armonica. Davvero 1 esordio che ha del miracoloso! (1996 Blanco Y Negro)

I Catatonia sono un quintetto Gallese che fa capo al songwriter Mark Roberts, ma più famoso per la sua frontwoman, la bionda punkette Cerys Matthews. Il suo ruvido ed essenziale stile vocale è una via di mezzo tra Debbie Harry (Blondie) e Bonnie Tyler. L'accoppiata formata da Matthews e dalle canzoni orecchiabili e melodrammatiche di Robert ci appare come una versione meno patinata degli Echobelly o degli Suede. I primi EPs sono stati raccolti su The Crai Eps (MIL). La migliore di quelle canzoni, For Tinkerbelle, è anche il brano che spicca su Way Beyond Blue (Blanco Y Negro, 1996), insieme alla facile Lost Cat. (Piero Scauffi -

Way Beyond Blue is Catatonia's criminally overlooked debut album, full to bursting with sparkling pop tunes, made all the more magical by Cerys Matthews distinctive voice (which is one part angelic croon, one part rough smokers growl). "You've Got A Lot To Answer For" is the top 5 hit that never was, combining the trauma of a pregnancy test with a tune that leaves you beaming, while "Sweet Catatonia" is a joyful statement of intent. During the quieter moments, on the likes of the gorgeous "Whale" and "Dream On", the music shimmers like a mirage that might disappear any second. When this first came out, Catatonia were dismissed as your average indie band; it's amazing how wrong people can be. The band may deal with the everyday subjects that effect us all, but most of us could never come up with anything as simultaneously delicate and aggressive as this. (Emma Johnston -

- Lost Cat
- Sweet Catatonia
- Some Half Baked Idea Called Wonderful
- You've Got a Lot to Answer For
- Infantile
- Dream On
- Bleed
- This Boy Can't Swim
- Painful
- Whale
- For Tinkerbell
- Way Beyond Blue


Cast "Mother Nature Calls"

Accidenti, già la vita si fa dura solo al secondo disco. Ma non poteva che essere altrimenti. Il caro John Power, simpatico quanto volete, non è certo 1 compositore eccelso. Nel primo disco ha trovato la formula giusta sulla scia degli Who, poi è chiaro che nel secondo disco si cerca un pò (non tanto) di cambiare le carte in tavola: ne risultano melodie non così convincenti come nell'esordio, anche se i singoli viaggiano bene e la capacità di scrivere oneste ballate rimane immutata. Inizia però la lenta discesa....(1997 Polydor)

If Cast's debut album All Change was trad-rock at its most joyous, their second album Mother Nature Calls is considerably more problematic. Electing to expand their sound slightly instead of replicating All Change, Cast paints itself into a corner. They haven't abandoned the traditional Brit-pop stylings of their debut, but they've strengthened it with a tougher sound and neo-hippie mysticism that manifests itself not only in John Power's dippy lyrics, but also in trippy instrumental sections. In theory, this is a way out of the trad-rock straitjacket, but in practice it falls flat. The main problem is that Power's melodies aren't nearly as sharp or memorable as they were on the debut; this immediately brings attention toward his lyrics, which are naive and often embarassingly simplistic. Cast also doesn't have enough charisma to save the songs with energetic, distinctive performances when they're flailing. These problems become all the more evident when they do get it right, such as on the shimmering "Guiding Star," the punchy "She Sun Shines" and the heart-tugging "I'm So Lonely (Calling You Back)," and they have the same sparkling joy that made All Change a delight. But that's a rarity on Mother Nature Calls. When the tunes and attitude are there, such weaknesses are easy to overlook, but since Cast comes up deficient on both counts, Mother Nature Calls is simply a dull listen. ( Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- Free Me
- On The Run
- Live The Dream
- Soul Tied
- She Sun Shines
- I'm So Lonely
- Mad Hatter
- Mirror Me
- Guiding Star
- Never Gonna Tell You What To Do (Revolution)
- Dance Of The Stars


Bennet "Street Vs Science"

Forse non sarà all'altezza dell'esordio, ma i colpi vincenti non mancano. Che poi non lo abbia comperato praticamente nessuno, beh, questa è tutta 1 altra storia... (1997 Roadrunner)

- Unlucky Pixie
- Hot Shot
- Be A Superstar
- My Friends Are Getting Fewer
- Swap It Around
- The Horse's Mouth
- I Like Rock
- Built To Last
- Something's Wrong With Mark
- Karaoke
- Das Boot


sabato 14 novembre 2009

Bennet "Someone Always Gets There First"

Beh, che dire dei cari Bennet? Simpatici. E hai già detto tutto. Guitar indie rock melodico e senza pretese, cori, chitarre e idee magari già sentite mille volte ma sempre fatte con il giusto piglio. Piacevoli! (1996 Roadrunner)

- Someone Always Gets There First
- Hello We Are Bennet
- Charity Dave
- Congregation De Freitas


Ballroom "B-Sides & Rarities"

Perle nascoste, dimenticate e criminalmente inserite come B-sides, oltre ai primi singoli della carriera, ecco cos'è questo post dei Ballroom. Già ho parlato di loro in altri post, quindi conoscete già la mia stima infinita verso questo gruppo, verso l'eleganza di un suono a cavallo tra Suede, Longpigs, Gene, il tutto in un fantastico mondo di riverberi guitar pop rock che guardano con rispetto anche allo shoegazer in certo aspetti. In questa mia piccola raccolta spicca la meravigliosa If I, struggimento pianistico di rara bellezza e la magia indie di I'll never dream, a mio avviso il vero punto di congiunzione tra Longpigs e Gene. Incanto vero e proprio. Abbiatene cura.

- Everyday Hero
- Her Sweet Saliva
- If I
- I'll Never Dream
- Let Go
- Silent Singers
- Someone Like You
- The Rise Of The Catwalk Queen
- Tomorrow's Gone
- Too Much Too Soon
- Walking In Time With The World
- You Don't Understand


Babybird "Ugly Beautiful"

Alla ricerca del pop perfetto, con ironia, con gusto, con sarcasmo (fin dalla copertina), con una varietà di suoni e idee che rendono l'album un vero gioiello. Non sbaglia praticamente nulla mr Jones in questo suo lavoro (che presenta suoi vecchi pezzi da solista ripresi e suonati con il gruppo), anzi, tra echi di U2, Echo & The Bunnymen, Prefab Sprout, modernariato e guitar pop classico piazza almeno 4 pezzi memorabili per la storia del pop! (1997 Echo)

Another South Yorkshire sexual ironist to set alongside Jarvis, Babybird's Stephen Jones delves here into clefts and crannies most people would rather leave unprobed. Dizzy with the deceptive power of words, for instance, he never leaves a pun unspoken.
"I am beside myself when I'm inside you," he claims in "You & Me", and it could stand as a motto for the entire album.
Ugly Beautiful contains a plethora of responses to unbidden movements of the heart and groin, nearly all of them questionable yet true. Take the hit single "You're Gorgeous" - ostensibly a love ballad of warm togetherness, but, like REM's "The One I Love", actually carrying more sinister undercurrents. In this case, its the song's pitiable account of pornographic devotion - having ice-cubes rubbed on chests, being photographed with legs pulled apart on car bonnets, and being paid pounds 20 with vague promises of being seen in a magazine - all endured for infatuation's sake, because the snapper is so gorgeous.
Elsewhere, the absurdly convoluted rhymes of "Candy Girl" ("Are you Paris without snails? Are you the Red Lion without ales?") serve merely to set up the cheeky fellatio reference in the chorus, while the necrophiliac musings of "I Didn't Want To Wake You Up" are given greater urgency here, courtesy of confident drumming and an eerie string pad, than on Jones's solo version included on last year's Fatherhood album.
This is the most noticeable result of Jones's decision to re-record several of the songs from his four previous solo Baby Bird LPs with his new backing band, a durable group able to turn their hand to all manner of pop strategies, from the wistful Mediterranean MOR of "Bad Shave" to the trip-hop of "Atomic Soda". The improvements are significant. It's not just that the songs sound less like dashed-off demos - there is also an increased depth of musical character to them, which renders them more like collective notions rather than the mad imaginings of a marginalised loner. (

Moving to a major label and switching to a full backing band for Ugly Beautiful is both a positive and negative development for Baby Bird. In the positive sense, Steven Jones' songs -- including a handful of tracks that were on his indie releases -- are given a clarity they were lacking in the past, and the full-bodied arrangements reveal songs like "Good Night" and "You're Gorgeous" as effortlessly catchy pop singles. However, the sonic clarity and larger arrangements also reveal that Jones is neither as clever nor as strange as his lo-fi albums suggested. Indeed, he often sounds like he's stuck in 1985, replicating the quirky charms of Robyn Hitchcock and Echo & The Bunnymen, and he lacks the wit or the adventure of either artist. So, Ugly Beautiful often treads close to cutesy nostalgia, of all things, yet it's saved by the sporadic surfacing of his songcraft. Even in this radio-ready setting, "I Didn't Want to Wake You Up" has a disquieting power, and "You're Gorgeous" positively radiates with twisted sexuality. But the long, "ironic" jams and unfocused material that end the record suggest that instead of representing the first flowering of his full talent, Ugly Beautiful may be the peak of it. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide)

- Goodnight
- Candy Girl
- Jesus Is My Girlfriend
- I Didn't Want to Wake You Up
- Dead Bird Sings
- Atomic Soda
- You're Gorgeous
- Bad Shave
- Cornershop
- King Bing
- You and Me
- 45 and Fat
- Handsome to Be Homeless
- July
- Baby Bird


venerdì 13 novembre 2009

AAVV "It's A Cool, Cool Christmas"

Lo so, Natale è ancora lontanto, ma mica tanto, visto che nei supermercati già vedo saltar fuori panettoni e pandori, così ho rispolverao questa eccellente compilation targata XFM e Jeepster Records, così avrete la colonna sonora ideale per scrivere la vostra letterina a Babbo Natale...(2000 Jeepster Records)

It's a Cool Cool Christmas compiles holiday songs from 21 alternative artists; some bands cover traditional tunes, while other bands present original, self-penned numbers. Grandaddy's "Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland" might be the funniest song from 2000. The band seems deadly serious, as vocals decry, "In a meadow we will build a snowman and pretend that he is Alan Parsons." There are many touches of humor in these generally charming songs. "Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas" by Eels might be the first Christmas song to include the lyrics "Baby Jesus... born to rock." El Vez mixes a cover of "Feliz Navidad" with a cover of Public Image Limited's "Public Image." It's inspired good fun. Belle and Sebastian, whose Jeepster label released the album, put forth a touching, straightforward rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." It is one of those Belle and Sebastian tracks that allows most band members to take a turn on vocals. Giant Sand's contribution sounds like a haunted Bruce Springsteen contribution to an album that might be called "A Very Creepy Christmas." One of the biggest disappointments of the album comes via the Flaming Lips. Their cover of "White Christmas" displays little of the majesty found on the The Soft Bulletin. It's good that their track includes the word "demo" in the title; that's exactly what it sounds like, as it's not nearly as funny as intended. The second half of the album might be even better than the first. Six By Seven's "I Believe in Father Christmas" is some sort of post-modern classic. Saint Etienne's track has Sarah Cracknell singing a Billy Fury song as if it's a Martin Gore ballad; that's a good thing. "Christmas Downer," a Departure Lounge original, affects a decent Phil Spector impersonation in a touching ode to holiday sorrow. Teenage Fanclub's song is mostly instrumental; it ends far too soon. Calexico and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci submit gentle, lilting songs of understated grace. The danger of most rock-based Christmas compilations is that there's usually not a great deal of holiday spirit in the songs. With contributions from bands considered to be some of the "coolest" artists of their era, It's a Cool Cool Christmas actually gets things right. Even if some tracks aren't entirely successful, the album as a whole is, without a doubt, one of the better alternative, holiday collections. (Tim DiGravina -

Ci risiamo. Come tutti gli anni di questi tempi.
Un disco di Natale può essere senz'altro la cosa più banale sulla quale possa capitare di mettere le mani in questi giorni, a meno che...
A meno che agli scontatissimi classici di stagione non si siano dedicati personaggi e gruppi che hanno da sempre dichiarato guerra aperta alla banalità e il disco allestito dall'etichetta dei Belle And Sebastian con il patrocinio della stazione radiofonica britannica XFM ne è pieno zeppo.
Che ne dite di una lista che parte con i Grandaddy e i Dandy Warhols (eccellente la loro versione di Little Drummer Boy, un vecchio pop hit dei primi anni Settanta), continua con Webb Brothers, Eels, El Vez -l'incredibile Elvis chicano scovato da Alan McGee in qualche casinò di Las Vegas e prontamente ingaggiato dalla sua Poptones-, Drugstore, Giant Sand, Belle And Sebastian, Flaming Lips (protagonisti della più improbabile rilettura di White Christmas che si fosse mai ascoltata) e che prima di arrivare alla conclusione sciorina ancora i contributi di Six By Seven, Teenage Fanclub, Calexico e Low?
Naturalmente non è tutto oro quel che riluce o nel nostro caso vischio quel contorna queste note natalizie, ma almeno per una volta le belle sorprese non mancano proprio. Neppure in un party tanto tradizionale qual è questo.
C'è chi sostiene anzi che It's A Cool, Cool Christmas sia il primo album di Natale davvero degno di considerazione dai tempi del Christmas Album raccolto dal leggendario Phil Spector: quel che è certo è che regalandolo alle persone giuste, o semplicemente regalandolo a voi stessi, farete sempre e comunque un figurone? (Elio Bussolino -

1.Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland - Grandaddy
2.Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols
3.Every Day Is Christmas - The Webb Brothers
4.Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - Eels
4.Feliz Navidad - El Vez
6.Christmas In Waikiki - Morgan
7.Maybe At Christmas Time - Drugstore
8.O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Belle & Sebastian
9.Thank You Dreaded Black Ice, Thank You - Giant Sand
10.White Christmas - The Flaming Lips
11.My Christmas Prayer - Saint Etienne
12.Christmas Downer - Departure Lounge
13.I Believe In Father Christmas - Six By Seven
14.When I Get Home For Christmas - Snow Patrol
15.Spiritual Guidance - Titan
16.Christmas Boogaloo - Big Boss Man
17.Christmas Eve - Teenage Fanclub
18.Gift X-Change - Calexico
19.Hwiangerdd Mair - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
20.Just Like Christmas - Low
21.In The Bleak Midwinter - Lauren Laverne


Sugar "Beaster"

Decisamente in forma Bon Mould e i suoi Sugar in questo Ep che seguiva l'album d'esordio. In forma sia nei testi, ma anche nell'approccio musicale duro e senza compromessi di queste sei canzoni che per molti rappresentano l'apice della carriera del gruppo! (1993 Rykodisc)

As a commercial follow up to the massively successful ‘Copper Blue’, ‘Beaster’, a six track mini-LP with no obvious single, qualifies as an unmitigated disaster. But as a great rock album, exploring many of Bob Mould’s demons, ‘Beaster’ is a resounding success.

Although written and recorded at more or less the same time as ‘Copper Blue’, this record is at almost the opposite end of Bob’s musical spectrum in terms of accessibility. It all starts off quite quietly enough with ‘Come Around’ , a largely acoustic mantra, which lulls the listener into a false sense of security. Next up though is ‘Tilted’ - a headlong plunge over the precipice, with Mould’s vocals tripping over themselves in a futile attempt to keep pace as the guitars take the listener further down into the abyss at break-neck speed. The record bottoms out with ‘Judas Cradle’, a real car-wreck of a song and one of the bleakest moments in Bob’s back catalogue, with its guitars wailing with a real sense of anger and futility. ‘JC Auto’ indicates perhaps there is a future after all. Maybe. "You’ll be sorry when I’m gone/I guess you knew this all along" isn’t exactly Shiny Happy People. But the dynamics of the song and the shards of melody combine to rally things a bit and make this one of Bob’s finest 7 minutes. ‘Feeling Better’ is next, and the mood has lightened significantly musically, but there’s still a deranged feel to this song as it simply refuses to stop. What could have been a fairly conventional 4 minute song catches some of the madness of this record and loops on and on. Which makes the closing ‘Walking Away’ even more amazing - it’s almost a hymn as Bob sings the same lines over and over again to an organ backing completely removed from the intense guitar onslaught of the rest of this record.
‘Beaster’ lives up to its name in more than ways than one. This is the best possible counterpoint to ‘Copper Blue’. As with most of the Mould back catalogue, this is an essential purchase. (

Considering that the six songs that comprise Beaster were recorded at the same sessions which yielded Sugar's phenomenal Copper Blue album, it's safe to say that frontman Bob Mould was feeling one motherfucker of a creative jolt in 1992.
As an album, Beaster certainly stands on its own merits. But coupled with Copper Blue, the record reveals a fascinating and even darker, harder and psychedelic edge to Sugar's sonic assault. The crucifix on the album's back cover may point to just what's on Mould's mind here, a "concept" which extends to song titled like "Judas Cradle" and the vicious "JC Auto," the singer's answer to the intrusive media scrutiny that forced him out of the closet.
And what a better way to air your rage than on a mini-album full of some of the most furious rock of your career?
Mould does just that here, on the relentless "Tilted" and the raw-throated, impenetrable guitar wall of "Judas Cradle," both of which would have been the gnarliest songs on Copper Blue. Mould saves a killer melody and some inspired rock riffing for "Feeling Better," the disc's second-to-last song, and even succeeds with the sublime organ hymnal "Walking Away," which could have soundtracked a slow fantasy sequence in a futuristic movie.
Beaster is a potent serving of Sugar's deadly power-pop that demands your fullest appetite. (Jonathan Cohen -

- Come Around
- Tilted
- Judas Cradle
- JC Auto
- Feeling Better
- Walking Away


Salad "Drink Me"

Concordo pienamente quando si dice difficile accostare i Salad ad altre formazioni britanniche con voce femminile dello stesso periodo. Decisamente più virati verso un suono americano, con i muscoli un pò più in evidenza (mica tanto eh...) e una nebulosa immagine dei Pixies in mente questi Salad. Poi per me il risultato cambiia poco rispetto alla raccolta dei singoli. Qualche idea migliore in più c'è. Ma poca roba. (1995 Island)

Clearly more interesting, more varied, more wild, less formulaic, and just plain wagon-loads better than the OK Echobelly and Sleeper, and far more original and less nostalgic than Elastica, Salad get a little notice but far less than their six singles and album suggest they are due. Best of all and most importantly, while all those other bands lose something with repeated playings, Salad's impact just grows stronger and stronger. Perhaps their first three singles -- compiled in 1994 on the LP Singles Bar -- are a little on the crude side, but since the release of "Your Ma" this Brighton quartet have really come on. Theirs is a mildly dark and twisted take on post-punk guitar rock; the occasional noise elements never interfere with their strong songs, but always add an unpredictable and screwy air that draws the ear. Even better, they are blatantly unafraid to plumb the quieter tones and inject large dollops of warmth and prettiness to the soul-searching words singer Marijne writes. The best example of this, "Motorbike to Heaven," is one the singles of 1995, perfectly recorded by the talented Mark Freegard, mixing his usual post-shoegaze glimmer shimmer with the group's freewheeling guitars and Marijne's arousing reaction to a parting. Sweet, strong, and only slightly sorrowful, this bubbling brook is so nice and yet really hits. Likewise, the bubbling cauldron of "Drink the Elixir," which might be a less nutso Pixies if they were more in control all the time, is powerfully catchy, and their untamed singer sounds hot and smooth at the same time. The rest of the LP seesaws between a gaggle of styles approximated by the four singles, with equally pleasing results. Anyway you look at it, this is an inspired, special group, one that will still be worth playing when writers have long forgotten any of these other more-hyped groups ever existed. (Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover - All Music Guide)

- Motorbike To Heaven
- Drink The Elixir
- Granite Statue
- Machine Of Menace
- Overhear Me
- Shepherds' Isle
- Muscleman
- Your Ma
- Warmth Of The Heart
- Gertrude Campbell
- Nothing Happens
- N. 1's Cooking
- A Man With A Box
- Insomnia


mercoledì 11 novembre 2009

Salad "Singles Bar"

Che la signorina Marijne van der Vlugt sia piuttosto carina è innegabile, ma non so perchè ho sempre diffidato di lei, sarà perchè era una vj di MTV, sarà perchè una ex modella che canta in un gruppo mi sa tanto di finto. Mah, non so. Sta di fatto che in casa mi ritrovo questo disco dei suoi Salad e capisco perchè ho sempre diffidato di lei: perchè canta canzonette banali. Indie rock senza grandi melodie. Non basta la sua grinta o chitarre un pò più rumorose della media a salvare il gruppo dal 5 in pagella. Eppure faranno 2 dischi. Questo album in realtà è una raccolta dei loro primi tre singoli. (1994 Island)

- Kent
- The King Of Love
- Heaven Can Wait
- Mistress
- Diminished Clothes
- Clear My Name
- Come Back Tomorrow
- On A Leash
- What Do You Say About That?
- Planet In The Ocean
- Problematique


Puressence "I Suppose"

Una canzone che racchiude in se la magia del suono Puressence, carezze stranianti e inquietanti si aprono per diventare graffi ruvidi e dolorosi. E la voce di James incanta. (1995 Island)

- I Suppose
- Let It All Go
- Free Fall


Puressence "Puressence"

Un disco pazzesco. Magnifico.
Ma si, quando ci vogliono i paroloni è giusto metterceli.
I Puressence di questo esordio sono oscuri, malinconici, tristi e non ancora così tendenti all' epico come saranno dal secondo disco in poi.
Si fa un gran parlare nella musica di oggi di gruppi derivativi del sound dei Joy Division, gente come Interpol o Editors o White Lies sono, a torto o a ragione, osannati per questo motivo, eppure credo che nessuno dei gruppi sopra citati possa davvero vantarsi di aver colto lo spirito, attenzione non dico la musica più di tanto, ma il sentimento e l'intensità dei JD come fecero i Puressence in questo lavoro.
Piano desolato, chitarre accese, spiragli acustici e la voce cristallina di James Mudriczki, uno dei punti di forza di un gruppo che con il passare degli anni non ha mai e dico mai perso nulla della propria capacità di scrivere musica incantevole. (1996 Island)

If Puressence's self-titled debut were a person, it'd be the shy young man working stock in a used bookstore, shrinking at customers but figuring out a long, complicated epic poem in his head.
Not only does James Mudriczki sing like Geneva's Andrew Montgomery with a Brooklyn open mike night accent, but the band pencils out light and powerful personal anthems with a strong, occasionally successful attention to detail, a floating, echo-filtered package that mines British arena rock, art-school ambition, romance novels, and the rigid noise of shoegazing.
Core track "Traffic Jam in Memory Lane" is about seven floors below the Longpigs or Placebo, or even Shed Seven -- entertaining and excessive while at the same time derivative and unremarkable. (Dean Carlson -

- Near Distance
- I Suppose
- Mr. Brown
- Understanding
- Fire
- Traffic Jam In Memory Lane
- Casting Lazy Shadows
- You're Only Trying To Twist My Arm
- Every House On Every Street
- India


martedì 10 novembre 2009

Little Hell "Emotional Vampire Sound"

Buon Ep, che seguiva un 7"/biglietto da visita, per questo gruppo che aveva fra tra i membri 2 ex Carrie, ovvero il frontman Steve Ludwin e il chitarrista Dennis Dicker. In realtà in qusto Ep compare ancora Lucy Johnston come voce femminile principale. La fanciulla se ne andrà dal gruppo proprio dopo questo lavoro e non parteciperà alle registrazioni ddell'album d'esordio. Rock grintoso e rumoroso. Niente male. (2000 Double Dragon Records)

- Emotional Vampire Sound
- Hemotoxic
- Hands Up Motherfucker!
- Gunshot Wounds


Lush "Spooky"

Premetto che lo specialista del genere è il buon Claudio, che in fatto di shoegazer meriterebbe una laurea, comunque apprezzo decisamente questo primo lavoro dei Lush sulla lunga distanza dopo buoni ep precursori. Sognanti, ma non per questo non ancorati a una buona solidità e fisicità musicale, sanno essere evocativi e armonici, incalzando però anche con brani dalle con ritmiche decise. Voci angeliche su tappetti chitarristici sono il marchio di fabbrica dello shoegazer, ma non è così facile come sembra farlo. Nel suo genere un gran bel disco. (1992 Reprise)

Whoever coined the term "shoegaze" was a perceptive fellow. Whatever causes the phenomenon - be it instinct, self consciousness, reverence, fashion - audiences everywhere, in unison, lower their heads and coolly bob their necks to the sounds of the effect-drenched guitars and nearly-danceable rhythms that shoegaze music offers. The initial inception of shoegaze hit a high water mark around 1991 and has since enmeshed itself into folk and electronica.
Lush, like their English contemporaries Ride and My Bloody Valentine, had shown a proclivity toward shoegaze in the late 1980s with the recording of several promising singles and EPs. All seemed in place therefore for Lush’s full length debut, Spooky. In considering its assets, Spooky is a well-crafted record filled with wonderful vocal harmonies, haunting minor-key progressions, and apt musicianship on all fronts. Why then do you detect some restraint from this reviewer? Because it shouldn’t have been a shoegaze record.
Produced by Robin Guthrie, who represents one half of the Cocteau Twins’ chromosomes, Spooky is laden with vocal and guitar effects that sparkle and drive the way that shoegaze music should (and just like the Cocteau Twins did). The problem is that this comes at the expense of some terrific pop ideas. "Ocean" and "Fantasy” possess so much slow, revealing beauty that it’s a shame the chiming guitar and vocal
production dilutes them. While My Bloody Valentine were able to create such sonic intrigue with their effects and flaunt them for the following generation to use, Lush seem to use these same devices as a mask. A mask covering a universally beautiful face.
That Spooky is able to redeem itself from the overzealous production is a testament to the band, because there’s still plenty to celebrate. "Nothing Natural," the record’s lead single, is realized through a sonic combat between a bouncing bass line and ascending harmonies. "Superblast!" rocks like a space-age Bowie might have, had My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless been released in 1970 to aid him in his flight. A beautifully crafted tale of an unrealized romantic relationship ("Monochrome") ends the record in sweet fashion. Then there are also songs that are brilliant enough to gleam through all of the effects ("Tiny Smiles" and "For Love").
Prior to the band’s break-up in 1998, Lush released Split and Lovelife, two records that better illuminate Lush’s talents for song writing. With the benefit of history then, it’s vexing to ponder Spooky’s flaws. Did Lush resort to shoegaze out of instinct, self consciousness, reverence and fashion like their neck-bobbing fanbase? Or was it just a sign of the times? Whatever the case we can now be glad that after Spooky, Lush learned to quit aurally reaching and begin crafting. (Jeff Roesgen -

Spooky (4AD, 1992) e` cosi` il primo vero album della formazione, con un'armonia ancor piu` densa di gorgheggi nebulosi, chitarre scampanellanti, tastiere cullanti e ritmi gentili. Gli elementi del loro sound sono stati ammorbiditi e abbelliti da un processo di maturazione che li ha allontanati dai residui fascini del garage-rock. Zuccheroso fino alla nausea, appena palpitante, quasi catatonico, questo stile non ha fiato per durare piu` di una canzone e finisce pertanto per risultare monotono. Alla fine i momenti migliori sono anche quelli che hanno piu` grinta: Stray, che s'impenna in una danza gotica alla Siouxsee Sioux, l'incalzante Laura, la scoppiettante Superblast e soprattutto la calda ballata di For Love. L'armonia jazzata di Tiny Smiles e la melodia trasognata di Ocean sono pero` piu` tipiche del resto. Nessuna canzone e` in realta` degna di essere ricordata, ma, come spesso capita con le trovate commerciali, quello dei Lush non e` un sound, e` soltanto l'idea di un sound. (Piero Scaruffi -

- Stray
- Nothing Natural
- Tiny Smiles
- Covert
- Ocean
- For Love
- Superblast!
- Untogether
- Fantasy
- Take
- Laura
- Monochrome